What’s your earliest memory?
When I was about four and we went during the holidays to our native place in Kerala, I fell into a pond. We were all standing on a slippery rock and suddenly I slipped and fell in. My grandmother jumped in and pulled me out. I remember swallowing a lot of water.
How has your family influenced you?
My parents taught me to be humble and to focus on work. When my father had a heart attack in 2005 and I was out of town shooting, he told me to continue working. He always said, “Be honest to your work. Never leave your work and come back”. I had another opportunity to put that in practice in 2008. I had a shoot in Mangalore when my father passed away. I remembered what he had said and continued working. My elder brother works in Bahrain, while my younger brother owns a medical store in Andheri in Mumbai.
So you’re like Malcolm in the Middle. How did you come to comedy?
I always had the ability to imitate relatives and the people of the housing society in Mumbai where I grew up. I learnt a lot from the small Ganpati mandal there. Next to the mandal, all of us children used to put up a stage where we’d perform skits and hold a fancy dress competition during Ganesh Chathurthi. It used to be great fun. I was also heavily into cricket. Twenty20 has become popular now but when we were growing up, we were all playing 20 over matches with a tennis ball! I’ve realised you do what you’re meant to do. Ultimately, you are pushed in that direction.
What irritates you?
I only get irritated when I fight with my wife. And you know, it’s true what they say — the wife is always right.
Are you religious?
Yes, I am. I believe in Shivji and Ganeshji. Even today whenever I begin something, when I’m putting on my make-up, I think of God. You know, He’s the best comedian ever!
What’s your take on love and marriage?
When you fall in love, you’re bound to get married. It’s a warning and then it’s an accident. I always want to tell people who’ve had unsuccessful affairs and have a broken heart that they should be happy because they’ve actually escaped lifelong slavery.